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Tech conference bloopers: 7 stories of snafus and slipups

JR Raphael | Feb. 16, 2011
Onstage falls, wardrobe malfunctions, and romantic disasters -- cue our real-life blooper reel from tech conferences around the world.

FRAMINGHAM, 16 FEBRUARY 2011 -

Today, we celebrate some of the gaffes, goofs, and glitches that have affected folks at tech conferences around the world. Some of the bloopers were technical in nature, while others were, shall we say, a bit more on the personal side.

All of them, however, were unforgettable — for better or for worse.

(Note: Some of the names have been changed to protect the guilty.)

Tech conference blooper No. 1: The color of embarrassment

Samantha McGarry traveled to a trade show in the United Kingdom some years back. Like many people at the convention, McGarry had gotten her hands full of freebies from various vendors set up around the event. She jammed all of them into a blue plastic bag she'd been given early in the day. Unfortunately, the bag made more of an impression on her than she realized.

"Unbeknownst to me, the blue ink from the bag was transferring to my sweaty palm and from there to my cheeks," McGarry remembers.

Naturally, hours went by without a mirror in sight, and no one had the decency to tell McGarry — who, coincidentally, now works at a company called Inkhouse — about her face-based faux pas. "I spent hours walking around the event, being all serious and professional, talking to clients and prospects — with blue all over my face," McGarry says. "Imagine my horror when I went to the ladies room!"

And you thought embarrassment only left your cheeks red.

Tech conference blooper No. 2: A seated stumble

Larry Marks, who was was hosting a panel and feeling good about it, had spoken at conferences before, and an audience of 200 was no reason for rattled nerves. Marks's problem, it turns out, was that he was slightly too comfortable.

"I was talking away, leaning back in my chair — you know, as my mother always told me not to," Marks recalls.

While balancing on his chair's rear legs, Marks toppled over backward — midsentence. You'd better believe every set of eyes in the room was trained right on him.

"As I was falling, I really didn't know what to do," he laughs. "It was kind of a world-class embarrassing moment."

Marks, unscathed from his fall, did the only thing he could think of: He kept right on talking, acting as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. "Of course, everybody started laughing," Marks says. "I finally stopped and said, 'What's so funny?'"

Tech conference blooper No. 3: When romance backfires

 

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